By SHERYE S. GREEN
A certain hope for uncertain times
COVID-19 has caught us all by surprise and has totally transformed life as we know it. More than 3 million people across the world — and more than 1 million in this country — are infected with the disease. This pandemic has killed more than 200,000 worldwide and nearly 59,000 in the United States.
Besides stealing lives, this unwelcome intruder has robbed honest, hardworking people of their jobs, forced children from classrooms, required business owners and managers to make seemingly impossible decisions, stunted the American economy, and required our federal government to pass legislation creating the largest financial aid package in the history of our country.
“Gloom, despair, and agony on me.” Perhaps, like me, you remember those opening lines from a song made popular on television’s country music comedy show “Hee Haw.” They’ve been running through my mind lately. I can hardly turn on the television, check a news app on my cell phone, or listen to the radio without feeling overwhelmed and disheartened about the current situation. While those emotions are normal, I cannot afford, as one who calls myself by the name of Christ, to fall into the mental trap of thinking there’s no hope based on the 6 p.m. news.
The hope we as Christians have is unique because it is based on Some One, not some thing. Our hope is alive (1 Peter 1:3), does not disappoint (Romans 5:5), and is indestructible (1 Corinthians 13:13). God’s hope also has the ability to fill our hearts with joy and peace (Romans 15:13). The writer of Hebrews describes this hope as “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19).
Here are a few thoughts from God’s Word, which have helped me maintain His perspective in the midst of this very troubling season:
Make each day count. Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.” Coronavirus or no, God still gives to me 24 hours each day. What a marvelous privilege to make sure those hours, minutes and seconds are lived with purpose and meaning for Him.
Make a choice to be thankful every day. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us, “… in every situation (no matter what the circumstances) be thankful and continually give thanks to God, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” I’m working to reestablish the spiritual discipline — taught to me by Marie McKeigney, a sweet friend and former Sunday school teacher — of writing down five things for which I’m thankful at the end of each day.
Purpose to live each day for God and not for man. 1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds me to “do everything for the glory of God.” When I keep my focus on God and on how I may partner with Him each day, life is much sweeter.
Pull on the anchor rope of your faith when you become afraid or fearful. Do I get scared about this virus? You bet I do. Am I going to let fear dictate my daily life? No way! Psalm 56:3 tells me what to do when I’m scared: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.”
Be resolute for God. Luke 9:51 says, “… He (Jesus) resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem.” This verse describes Jesus’ mindset near the end of His earthly life. While scripture is clear that Jesus endured all the trials related to His betrayal, trial and crucifixion for “the joy set before Him,” they were nonetheless great sufferings to endure. Yet Jesus determined in His heart to choose the Lord’s will and not His own. I must do no less.
Stay the course. These lines from the apostle Paul give us a charge for this trying season: “Keep alert. Be firm in your faith. Stay brave and strong. Show love in everything you do” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).
Here is a prayer from a devotional book, “Prayers and Promises for Women,” which a dear friend recently shared with me concerning hope: God, because I can trust you, I can believe for a good outcome in any situation. I am filled with hope as I await your answer, your solution, your response to my needs. Your promise turns impatience into expectation, and waiting into joy. Thank you for your gift of hope that is alive in me.
Whether it’s COVID-19, financial struggles, or relationship difficulties, life will always be filled with worries. Anchor your faith to God’s hope in uncertain times.
Sherye S. Green is a Jacksonian and a wife, mother and grandmother. Sherye and her husband, Mark, are members of First Baptist Jackson. She is also the author of Abandon Not My Soul and Tending the Garden of My Heart.